Sri Ramakrishna (was Re: The dvaita...)
kartik at ENG.AUBURN.EDU
Sat Jun 29 12:43:01 CDT 1996
> Giri wrote:
> > Ramakrishna did say that 'One who attains nirvikalpa samadhi dies
> >in 21 days.' This has been rejected by some including Ramana. However, the
> Exactly what I was talking about. Ramana has rejected it _explicitly_. So do
> gauDapaada and shaMkara _explicitly_.
Sri Ramakrishna even said that anyone dying in Benaras would become Shiva.
But if that were the case, why did he not encourage his own disciples to simply
stay put in Benaras till their death? I doubt if Sri Ramakrishna meant such
statements "philosophically". For example, when he was talking about Krishna
and the Gopis, Vivekananda (then allegedly an atheist) "proved" that Krishna was
not a historical character. Sri Ramakrishna said,"But in writing about Krishna,
the author of the Bhagavatam had to experience all that the Gopis went through.
In that sense, Krishna did exist for him." IMHO, all that Sri Ramakrishna wanted
from his disciples/devotees was faith and renunciation. As he himself said,"If
you have faith, you have everything."
> My point is very simple:
> ramaNa has explicitly said "there is only _one_ path and there is only _one_
> goal", on a question about various paths. The only path is self-enquiry.
> are also quite valid as they lead to purification of the mind, and
> automatically _result_ in self enquiry. This has been said _explicitly_ by
> ramaNa without any ambiguity whatsoever.
I do remember a posting in the SRH (by Ken) which said how RamaNa also
recommended surrendering to the Guru. ("Either enquire into the self, or admit
your own inability and surrender to God or to the Guru. God or the Guru never
forsakes the devotee who comes for refuge".)
Definitely, sharaNaagati is _not_ self-enquiry. Rather, the former is to rely
upon "someone else", the latter is to rely upon "yourself". I'll be more clear:
surrender places emphasis on "Thou", and self-enquiry places emphasis on "I".
> In my limited readings of Ramakrishna, I have on lots of occasions felt that
> he was espousing something like (vishistaadvaita+advaita)/2.
As egodust wrote:
> (Ramakrishna was secretly an advaitin, and reserved the
> higher teching--and rightly so--for those ripe for it::for those sufficient
> in bhakti.)
Yes. One person who was interested only in Bhakti wrote from the advaita
ashrama to the Holy Mother (Sri Ramakrishna's wife) asking whether he could
pursue the path of Bhakti, since Sri Ramakrishna had only emphasised bhakti.
The Holy Mother replied,"Sri Ramakrishna was an advaitin. All his disciples are
Sri Ramakrishna clearly discerns that for people who are not capable of
self-enquiry or who are sincerely faithful to God, the path of GYAna Yoga is
not feasible. To Vivekananda, he gave texts like Adhyatma Ramayana,
but to some others, he said,"just chant Hari's name". In fact, he even
discouraged one of his disciples from meditation and GYAna yoga.
He offers bhakti to the disciples who were "bhakti-oriented" and
self-enquiry to those who were meditative. I've read how Sri Ramakrishna
helped Vivekananda control the mind. When V. was having problems
meditating due to the sound of a train-whistle, Sri Ramakrishna asked him to
meditate on that very sound.
Even in the Srimad Bhagavatam, which is quite advaitic in some parts (there are
two advaitic commentaties on the Bhagavatam; one is by a ShrIdhara SvAmin),
bhakti is repeatedly stressed. I think it even says how those who are inclined
towards bhakti should not orient themselves towards GYAna.
> >To be more precise, Ramakrishna is said to have first followed the path of
> >bhakti to divine realization. Then he followed various other paths, and
> >ascertained that they led to the same end. More specifics on how this could
> This is also against the philosophy of advaita and ramaNa's word's. According
> to ramaNa either you are realized or not. There is no "path" after
> He has been quite explicit on this also.
Actually, the question of why Sri Ramakrishna traversed various "paths" _after_
his sadhana was asked by one of his disciples,"If you had already reached the
goal, why did you again tread those other paths?" To which Sri Ramakrishna
replied,"I had a desire to experience the Mother through the other paths too."
The way I look at it, Sri Ramakrishna wanted to exemplify through his life
how "all religions lead to the same goal".
I distinctly remember RamaNa recommending Bhakti in his "talks".
What exactly is the advaitic notion of Bhakti?
> ramaNa has explicitly said that he is always in sahaja samadhi (or permanent
> nirvikalpa samadhi), again contrary to Ramakrishna.
There are so many "contradictions" in advaita more glaring than that. In the
last verse of the GauDapaadIya kaarikaa,"On realizing the non-dual state, which
is profound...we salute it to the best of our ability." If the state were
non-dual, how can there be any "saluting" at all?
As P.T.Raju has pointed out," `sarvaM khalu idaM brahma' (everything is Brahman)
is vastly different from `neti, neti' (not this, not this)."
Needless to say, I don't mean to disrespect any of the great philosophers/saints
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